Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Velvet for Christmas

Cracking find by Lee Johnson yesterday on the O reservoir yesterday and still about to at least 3pm today was this velvet scoter - the first for a good while (none in my tenure).  He managed this fine picture of it from the viewing screen:
Also brightening up proceedings and again an uncommon visitor to the reserve was a red breasted merganser on the res too.  An exciting couple of days on the water with 2 Mediterranean gull, little gull and red crested pochard on D too.  Female scaup had been present up to the 21st and there are plenty of goldeneye now in the throng of spring - Brian Colley:
Plenty of wildfowl on Watton:
Mallards amongst everything looking their best:
A certain highlight however have been bittern; they've yet to be seen elsewhere but appear to roost nightly at Watton Nature Reserve - two being seen on the 19th - Steve Hines captured these shots of one:

Perhaps surprising has been the lack of notable geese amongst the sedentary greylags this year - no white fronts or pink feet as yet - Brian Colley:
There's plenty on the passerine front too - Roy Vincent captured these of bullfinch:
Willow tit always popular:
Marsh tit:

Coal tit:
Blue tit:
Great tit:
And masses of thrushes such as blackbird:
Goldfinch by Darren Smith:

For anyone wishing to see all the above and more we'll be running the popular year listing event on January the 1st.  We aim to keep a running tally through the day of species found which can be into the 70's; Two walks will be running with one at 10am and another at 1pm to try and rack up as many species as possible - free with standard admission no booking necessary.

Common buzzards over the reserve - Roy Vincent:
And Brian Colley:
Kingfisher still showy on North Marsh by Bruce Pillinger:
And a nice winter speciality was this green sandpiper by Brian Colley - seen a couple of times of late both on Hempholme and South Marsh East:
Chiffchaff on the 6th was another token winter straggler.

A reminder too that we'll be looking through this years photos submitted to the blog or flickr for the new membership card - closing date 31st Dec.  Winner gets a years membership.   

Just a note to say thanks to everyone who has helped out on the reserve this year - many hours of great volunteer work helping out in conservation and survey work and visitor help have been given.  If blogging has been a bit Spartan of late it is because we've been doing a lot of planning and prep work for habitat work this winter - crowning work of which is a project to return North Lagoons back into operation; So some great things to look forward to in 2015. 

Last one an otter in North Marsh by Roy Vincent recently;